Bill Wheelhouse

Anchor/ Economy Blog

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Statehouse
7:11 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Here's Your Chance To Serve On Medical Marijuana Board

Credit flickr/eggrole

 The new medical marijuana program in Illinois is looking for health professionals and patients to serve on an advisory board.   There is an opportunity for you to get your name on the list of nominees.

The 15-member board will make recommendations about which medical conditions can be added to the list of those approved for medical marijuana use in the state.  

Board members will be appointed by the governor. There is no compensation other than expenses.  

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Politics
7:11 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Term Limits Will Remain Campaign Issue For Rauner

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner says not having a term limits measure on November's ballot is a temporary setback.  

He told reporters Sunday he'll ``campaign very aggressively'' on term limits in both his bid to unseat Gov. Pat Quinn and on behalf of state lawmakers who commit to term limits. A new ad released Sunday focuses on term limits.  

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Statehouse
6:39 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Watchdog Applauds Investigation of Electric Supplier

Credit majorenergy.com

 An Illinois watchdog group is celebrating a decision by regulators to launch an investigation of an Orangeburg, New York-based alternative electric supplier.  

The Citizens Utility Board said Wednesday it's pleased the Illinois Commerce Commission adopted a recommendation to investigate Major Energy.  

Consumers have complained about misleading marketing by Major Energy. CUB says the company's rates are the worst it's seen in the Illinois competitive power market.  

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Arts
11:06 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Otis Gibbs: A Nice Guy Plays Springfield

Credit otisgibbs.com

The folks who put on Bedrock 66 are bringing singer-songwriter Otis Gibbs to Springfield Thursday (Aug 21) at 7:30 at Donnie's Homespun.    Bill Wheelhouse introduces to Otis and let's us hear a track from his new album.

Tickets for Thursday's show are $7 at bedrock66.com   Find Otis's music and podcasts at otisgibbs.com.

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Education Desk
6:26 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Illinois Sees Slight Gains On ACT Scores

Credit Eastern Kentucky University

The Illinois State Board of Education says Illinois' high school graduating class of 2014 earned a composite score of 20.7 on the ACT.  

The score on the four-subject test is slightly higher than the class of 2013's score of 20.6. The national average is 21.  

Board officials say Illinois had the second-highest composite score among the 12 states that tested 100 percent of graduates, next to Utah.  

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Health Desk
7:27 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Making It Easier To Complain About Nursing Homes

Credit kaiserhealthnews.org

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed two pieces of legislation giving seniors and the disabled greater access to people who can address complaints about their care or their living conditions.  

One of the measures allows people with complaints about nursing homes to submit them electronically to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That takes effect immediately.

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Health Desk
6:47 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Brita Recalling Children's Watter Bottles

Brita recalling children's water bottles

Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.

The company said Tuesday that the lid of the hard-sided bottles can break into pieces with sharp points.

Brita has received 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking. No injuries have been reported.

The recalled bottles include a violet bottle with Dora the Explorer, a pink bottle with Hello Kitty, a blue bottle with SpongeBob Square Pants and a green bottle with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Each bottle has a Brita logo and white lid.

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Statehouse
7:44 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Illinois Increases Penalties For Drug Crimes

Credit methproject.org

Illinois has increased the penalties for some drug offenses.  

Gov. Pat Quinn signed three drug-related pieces of legislation Saturday. They take effect Jan. 1.  

Manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of any school property will now be a Class X felony, punishable by a minimum of six years in prison. It was previously considered a Class 1 felony.  

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Education Desk
7:02 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Illinois Colleges To Be Smoke Free

Illinois' public colleges are going smoke-free _ indoors and out _ starting next summer.  

Gov. Pat Quinn says he's signed a law that bans indoor and outdoor smoking at all state-supported colleges and universities.  

The bill makes exceptions for smoking inside privately owned vehicles traveling through campus and some activities under the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act.  A companion bill signed by Quinn also allows smoking on campus inside parked, non-state-owned vehicles.  

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Harvest Desk
7:14 am
Fri August 15, 2014

McCormick Oregano Recalled: Possible Salmonella

You may want to check your spice rack. This recall affects products sold in Illinois.

McCormick & Company, Incorporated is initiating a voluntary recall of McCormick® Ground Oregano, 0.75 oz bottle, UPC 0-523561-6 with code dates BEST BY AUG 21 16 H and AUG 22 16 H due to possible contamination with Salmonella. This recall does not impact any other McCormick Ground, Whole or Oregano Leaves products.

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Regional
7:23 am
Wed August 13, 2014

WUIS-SJR Business Report

The future "Metropolitan Place"
Credit sj-r.com

Turning an abandoned downtown Church into the "metropolitan place", Stanford Avenue expansion, a car dealership adds another brand and a chili parlor open again.

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Regional
8:28 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Sangamon County Residents Give Thoughts About Their "Neighborhoods".

A new survey shows what Sangamon County residents think about their areas where they live.  Bill Wheelhouse talked with Ashley Kirzinger of the UIS Survey Research Office about the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission's Neighborhood Survey.

To view the survey click here

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Statehouse
5:54 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Former Illinois Lawmaker Dies at 48

Former lawmaker Mike Smith died Saturday at age 48.
Credit ilga.gov

Services are pending for former west-central Illinois state lawmaker Mike Smith.  

Oak-Hines Funeral Home in Smith's hometown of Canton says the 48-year-old Democrat died Saturday morning at his home of a suspected heart attack.  

The (Peoria) Journal Star  reports Smith served 16 years in the state Legislature before losing his 2010 re-election bid.  

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Business
11:29 am
Wed August 6, 2014

More Power Lines Coming Through The Region WUIS-SJR Business Report

Credit Iowa State University
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Statehouse
9:39 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Clout On The Business Side of Medical Marijuana

Credit flickr/medicalmarijuana-information.com

Illinois has set its regulations for medical marijuana in the state.   While, those who may benefit medically are looking forward to the substance becoming available, those who are interested in making money growing it and selling it are getting there ducks in a row.  Kurt Erickson, Springfield Bureau Chief for Lee Enterprises newspapers has been covering the issue he joined a roundtable discussion with Bill Wheelhouse, Amanda Vinicky & Brian Mackey.

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Harvest Desk
6:25 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Illinois Farmers Market Prices Survey

There's a web site to track farmers market prices.
Credit Ill. Dept. of Agriculture

The University of Illinois Extension Service is now regularly surveying prices at farmers markets around the state.

According to The News-Gazette in Champaign the surveys of 11 farmers markets around Illinois are being conducted as part of a three-state effort that includes Kentucky and Tennessee.

The weekly price surveys are being published on the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification's website.  

The idea is to give produce farmers an idea of what prices look like across the region.  

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Regional
7:18 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Court OKs FutureGen Financing Plan

Site of FutureGen plant in Meredosia.
Credit WUIS

A court says state regulators can force Illinois electricity customers to help pay for the $1.6-billion FutureGen project.

The 2-1 decision Tuesday by the Illinois Appellate Court OKs a state plan to charge an estimated $1 to $1.40 a month to help pay for the long-delayed project.  

Ken Humphreys is CEO of the FutureGen Alliance. The group of coal companies is working with the U.S. Department of Energy on the project. Humphreys says the court decision will keep the project moving.  

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Statehouse
6:53 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Fire Closes State Building Today

Credit wandtv.com

The Illinois Secretary of State's office has closed its Howlett Building in Springfield for the day because of a small fire.

Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker says the fire happened about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in a mechanical room at the building, which is part of the Illinois State Capitol complex.  

He says firefighters quickly put out the blaze but the air conditioning in the building isn't working and crews need to work on mechanical issues.  

Druker says the agency hopes to reopen the office building on Wednesday.  

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Education Desk
6:47 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Houston Says District 186 Needs To Build Credibility Before Asking For Tax Hike

Credit montanapublicmedia.org

WUIS is asking the candidates for Springfield mayor to talk about education issues facing the community. Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's concerned that most new single family homes in the area are in suburban school districts.   He says an increase in funding for District 186 is probably needed, but says the school board needs to build credibility first.

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Regional
7:23 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Illinois Among The Highest Risk For Earthquakes

Credit State of Illinois

Illinois and Missouri are on the list of states with the highest risk for earthquakes.

A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about one-third of the United States and lowers it for one-tenth of the nation.  

The U.S. Geological Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor.  

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Statehouse
7:16 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Quinn Signs Law Designed To Add Accountability To Grants

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation overhauling the state's grant oversight and accountability process.  

Quinn's office said Wednesday that he has signed the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act. The governor says it will give Illinois a comprehensive set of uniform rules for grant applications and make those who receive grants more accountable to taxpayers.

The signing comes on the same day as legislative hearings are to begin on a controversial Quinn program.

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Regional
11:16 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Wabash Avenue Work & A Chili Parlor Back In The Family

Credit nasda.org

The WUIS State Journal Register Business Report.  This week  Wabash Avenue, Jeff Parsons in coourt and a Route 66 landmark to re-open.

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Local Government
12:42 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Springfield's Mayor Wants Another Term

Mike Houston
Credit City of Springfield

Springfield mayor Mike Houston will seek another term.  Houston made the announcement earlier this morning.  He says he has righted the ship when it comes to city finances.

Houston is expected to face opposition.   
County Auditor Paul Palazzolo and City Treasuer Jim Langfielder have indicated they will run for the office as well.

Houston admits he broke a pledge to only serve one term.  He made that during the last campaign.  But he says some of his projects have taken longer than anticipated to accomplish.
 

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Politics
5:47 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Houston Likely To Seek Re-election

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston will make a campaign announcement Monday morning.  While his release did not say specifically that he will run for another term, the release included this quote, "With so many evolving projects, there's too high of an investment to get off course or to go backwards. Springfield can't afford to make the mistakes again I've worked so hard to correct."  His announcement is at 10:30 a.m.

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Business
11:16 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Ameren Gets Eminent Domain WUIS SJR Business Report

Credit Ameren.com

On this week's WUIS-SJR Business Report Tim Landis discusses Ameren's efforts to acquire land for the Illinois Rivers Transmission Line. Also the status of the Taylorville Energy Center land and a Chik Fil A coming back to Springfield.

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Congress
1:13 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Editor Of Dixon Memoir Remembers The Late Senator

  Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon of Illinois has died.

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Regional
12:00 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Another Coal Mine Discovered Under Springfield

Credit legendsofamerica.com

There was more coal mining under the city of Springfield than previously thought.

Some cases of mine subsidence in the south part of Springfield last year led to a discovery that more ground under Springfield had been mined for coal.

Scott Elrick with the State Geological Survey says they found an area between MacArthur and Fifth and  between Ash and Laurel that had been mined in the 1800's.

Elrick compares the finding to a new discovery when doing family genealogy.

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Regional
9:13 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Mother Jones Monument In Central Illinois To Be Restored

Credit Mother Jones Museum

An Illinois monument to famed labor crusader Mother Jones in the graveyard where she's buried is getting a makeover, thanks to donors from 17 states.  

The (Alton) Telegraph  reports the restoration of the 22-foot granite obelisk was announced Tuesday in the union-owned Mount Olive cemetery where Mary Harris Jones is buried.  

A symbolic check for $61,000 was presented during the ceremony, representing donations ranging in size from $5 to $5,000 from 107 union organizations.  

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Statehouse
11:32 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Consumer Group Wants Regulators To Look Into Price Spike

Credit Citizens Utility Board

Consumers who buy their electricity from alternative energy providers have been seeing some price hikes lately.  A consumer group is asking state regulators to look into it.

The Citizens Utility Board says the rate spikes are a recent trend in the four years of open competition in Illinois. CUB Executive Director David Kolata says he thinks the companies are unnecessarily trying to pass their extra costs from the harsh winter onto the customer.

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Regional
6:54 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Decatur Zoo Gets Grant To Build Bird Exhibit

Scovill Zoo, Decatur.
Credit Decatur Park District

The Scovill Zoo in Decatur is getting nearly a half-million dollars in state grants to build a walk-through bird exhibit.   The money is part of a state grant program that will give out $20 million dollars in capital funds for facility improvements and added exhibits at museums operated by local governments and cities.

Scovill is also getting the funding for a crowned-crane exhibit, pavilion, ADA walkway and a generator.

Major attractions receiving money include the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Adler Planetarium.

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